Miami football moves from 21st to ninth in ESPN SP+ ratings

The play of the Miami football team through the first three games of the 2020 season is moving them up in the SP plus ratings per ESPN college football writer Bill Connelly.

The Miami football team has started the season with an explosive offense and defense that is continuing to get into opposing backfields as has been the tradition during the Manny Diaz era. Miami is ranked ninth overall is the SP+ with a 17.4 rating. The Miami offense earned 32.6 grade which is 30th nationally.

The Miami defense earned a 15.6 SP+ rating to rank sixth and the Hurricanes special teams graded out at 0.4 which is the best in the country. Wins this weekend by UAB and Florida State who Miami defeated earlier in the season helped the Hurricanes move up six spots from 15th to ninth in the SP+.

The Miami offense is ranked high in the more traditional stats. Miami is seventh in scoring offense and12th in total offense averaging 499 yards per game. Miami has been even better in conference games. The Hurricanes are averaging an astounding 49.5 PPG in ACC games, which is first by eight PPG.

The top two offenses in the ACC will take the field on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Clemson leads the ACC averaging 513.5 yards per game in conference games. Miami is second averaging 501 yards per game in their victories over Louisville and Florida State. Expect the defenses to step up Saturday.

Connelly explained the SP+ and how Miami moved up without playing a game this weekend. The Hurricanes have their most balanced team since the 2000s. The biggest test and judgment throughout college football will come Saturday night. Clemson is third overall, third offensively and fourth defensively in SP+.

“Combined with some slight shifts in the weighting of opponent adjustments, Miami was able to move up to ninth in this week’s rankings without lifting a finger. Now that’s efficiency…Miami has moved from 23rd to ninth.

Connelly explained SP+ as the tempo and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency. The intent of SP+ is more predictive of the future than performance. The purpose is to measure how well or poorly a team plays more than reward a team for a victory or punish them for a loss.

If Miami continues to play efficiently offensively and the defense remains one of the best in the country, the Hurricanes should continue to rise in the SP+ rankings. Miami currently is third in the ACC in SP+ ranked behind Clemson and Notre Dame. A good performance against Clemson win or lose and Miami could rise in SP+.